Social Security benefits get biggest increase in four decades

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - More than 111,000 North Dakotans received Social Security benefits last year. Next year, recipients will see the largest payment increase to their Social Security checks since 1982.

The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday an increase to Social Security payments in 2022 of 5.9%. For the average retiree, that’s an extra $92 per month.

Eugene Farstad has been on Social Security for three years. He says he’s excited about an increase in benefits.

“It’s a good thing. Medicare, social security, retirement, it helps. It all helps,” said Eugene Farstad of Mandan.

About half of all seniors rely on Social Security benefits to provide at least half of their earnings, and about a quarter of seniors depend on it for nearly all of their monthly income. With inflation on the rise, seniors welcome the increase.

“Everything’s going up, the thing about everything going up, it’s going to help. Ninety two dollars isn’t much, but it’ll help,” said Farstad.

Overall, the response is welcomed by many social security recipients and its advocates.

“The 5.9% COLA increase, which is the largest in almost four decades, it proves that Social Security is crucial for Social Security beneficiaries and their families. So having that additional roughly $90 per month is going to be an important and critical help to them,” said Josh Askvig, North Dakota State Director at AARP.

But the question is, is the increase enough? Since 2000, Social Security benefits have been raised by 55%. However, housing and healthcare costs have outpaced them, each rising by more than 100%.

The change to Social Security benefits is based on the Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of goods. The adjustment will affect about 70 million Americans, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees.

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